Quarantine & a Vet Visit

Frediano & Finkleberry were in quarantine, in my bedroom, from the 14th of March until the 10th of April.

Frediano & Finkleberry

The change in surroundings & routine would be significant for them, but at least they had each other.  I always think quarantine is easier when there is more than one bird, & that it is particularly difficult if the budgie was with others, but is then suddenly alone.  So, I felt reasurred that Frediano & Finkleberry had each other, especially as I was initially spending time with an unwell Lennie & then later, a solo Moriarty.  So, unlike other quarantine times, I did not spend as much time with them as I would have liked.

My first impressions were that Frediano & Finkleberry were fairly quiet & only really moved to get something to eat or drink.  Given they had been living with predators (cats), I felt that, for survival, they had learned to not draw attention to themselves.


Quarantine is usually a good time for taming but in this instance, I felt that their previous lack of interaction with people meant a lesser goal of them not panicking when I changed food/water & the bottom paper, was more appropriate.  The first few times, when I changed their seed pots, they flew to the other end of the cage in fright.  Later, they calmly moved to the other side of the cage, then gradually they were comfortable staying put.

As a precaution, I had booked a home vet visit for the 20th of March for Lennie, but as he was no longer with us, I decided to keep the appointment for the new boys, particularly as I had some concerns.  One of my concerns was the extensive rust on the mirror toy I was given by the previous owner. I showed it to the vet so she could bear it in mind during her examination. I also noticed that Finkleberry often sat with his head bowed quite low & wondered if that could be a health issue or just behavioural.

Rusty bell on the mirror

My bedroom is not set up for flying birds, so in case either Frediano or Finkleberry escaped from the vet’s grasp, I did some rudimentary bird-proofing of the room, in particular covering gaps at the back of larger, harder to move furniture.  (Not sure what the vet thought when she saw the bubble-wrapped room!)

Frediano was first to be examined.  He weighed 55g – the vet thought he was on the chubby side but suspected that was due to lack of exercise/flying, so hopefully would remedy itself. He also had a temperature but the absence of any other clinical signs made her think it was temporary & stress related. His toenails needed to be trimmed (previous lack of perch variety), so whilst the nurse located the clippers, Frediano was put in the small carrier cage whilst Finkleberry was examined.  Finkleberry weighed just 32g, which the vet thought was right for him as he is naturally a small bird. She could feel his heart, which suggested it was enlarged – this could be congenital or diet-related.  Finkle got his toenails trimmed & tidied up, as did Frediano, who also had a beak trim too.

Finkleberry & Frediano

It is worth noting that when Frediano was put back in the cage with Finkleberry, Finkleberry immediately started preening Frediano’s head – it was the first time I had seen this.  (Previously I had seen it happen the other way around on a couple of occasions).

Finkleberry has a closed, black ring on his right leg & the vet confirmed it reads “NB 19 OU PG 17”.  We believe it means he was the 17th chick hatched in 2019.  An internet search confirmed that black leg rings were issued for 2019, so he is older than expected. Assuming he hatched towards the end of 2019, he is over 3 years old – possibly very similar in age to Moriarty.

As a precaution, I collected their droppings for 7 days, to be tested for Chlamydia, which fortunately came back negative.

After the disturbance of the vet visit, I felt we could truly begin to make progress with Frediano & Finkleberry becoming relaxed & comfortable in their new home.

Frediano & Finkleberry


Lennie’s Last Day

Following on from my previous post (click here), we had a 1pm appointment with the vet on the 17th of March, which meant another 50 minute car ride which seemed extra bumpy this time (click here to read about the previous vet visit).  On examination, Lennie had lost 2g (now 60g) & also had a temperature.  This mirrored when he was ill in October 2021 (Click here to read that post). This time, along with a crop feed, the vet administered antibiotics & an anti-inflammatory to get his temperature down.  I was also given these medications to give to him from the next day.

Lennie in travel cage

We arrived home around 14:20.  I got Lennie back into his cage where he settled on the triangle perch.  Moriarty briefly went in to say hello, but seemed to understand that Lennie did not really want to be disturbed.  It was about an hour later when I noticed Lennie was on the platform perch.  I was not too concerned as he used to like to sit there & play with the chewy toy.  At one point, Moriarty went over to the platform perch to chat with him.  However, as time went on, something did not seem right.  It looked like Lennie was there because the flat platform was more comfortable than a perch.  By 4pm, I was seriously worried.

I will skip over the more distressing aspects, suffice to say, I knew the end was coming.  By 16:45, I was holding Lennie in my hands & telling him that we loved him.  I told him that I had loved every second of his stay here.  I thanked him for being such a wonderful boy.  I did not want him to prolong any agony by resisting the inevitable, so towards the end, I told him it was ‘time to rest’.  At 17:10, he died.

My beautiful boy left us.  Just 19 days after his beloved friend Perry.

While this was happening, Moriarty was in his old cage, beside his mirror, completely silent.  Immediately after, when I went over to him, Moriarty looked concerned & worried.

He knew he had lost another friend.


We love you, Lennie.

So sorry you could not stay longer, but at least you are reunited with your best friend, Perry. 💙💙

Lennie & Perry


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Nineteen Days

When Perry left us, Lennie decided he was not going to eat from the seed pots.  He carried on eating, just not from those pots.  This appeared to be an initial indication of grief.

Birds do indeed feel grief so I kept an eye on both Lennie & Moriarty’s behaviour.  Lennie had been with Perry all his life & had never spent one night away from him.  Equally, Moriarty loved Perry & would no doubt miss all the flirting sessions & sharing of food. Rightly or wrongly, I tried to keep to the original routine as much as possible.

Four evenings after Perry left us, just before 10pm, Lennie seemed extra restless in his cage.  Both were locked up for bedtime (separately – sticking with the old routine), with the big covers over them.  I wondered if perhaps Lennie was ready to stay overnight with Moriarty.  I lifted the covers & opened the small doors on both cages.  Immediately, Lennie ran in to be with Moriarty.  This was a big step for both of them as Moriarty has always slept overnight on his own.  Maybe this was the time?  I recalled the difficulty Bezukhov had on losing his best buddy Cagney, not wanting to sleep alone, but struggling to share with Phineas (Click here to read that story).


Both Lennie & Moriarty seemed a bit surprised & subdued by the sudden turn of events.  Unfortunately, Lennie did not fully settle & at around 23:15, I opened the cage doors again, to give him a choice to stay or leave, & with no hesitation he ran out.  It clearly did not feel quite right for him.  However, he got to his door, peered inside, then turned around on the door platform so he was facing the room.  He looked up at me with a confused expression that seemed to say, “I don’t want to be in there alone.”  It broke my heart.  He did not feel at home in Moriarty’s & now he did not feel at home in his own cage without Perry.  With some encouragement he went in but though he continued to feel unsettled, he never attempted another overnight stay with Moriarty.

Some days after the above events, Lennie also developed a strange head movement that was most noticeable when he ate millet that I offered.  You can see this in the video below:


Lennie had also started his spring moult.  All these things were manageable until, on the 14th of March, Lennie stopped eating.  Continue reading “Nineteen Days”

Beak Trim and a Bald Patch

We had another vet visit a couple of days ago on the 6th of December.  It was booked primarily to give Perry’s beak another trim, but with Perry’s catalog of ailments, there were other things to review.

Blue and white pied budgie sitting on perch
Perry resting

A few days prior to the visit, a balding patch on Perry’s belly was showing a visible lump.  Though the area has been looking ‘patchy’ for weeks, the recent changes meant the vet visit was timely.

On examination, the vet said the lump was hard & was sat on top of a soft (probably fatty) lump.  There is no way of knowing what it is without doing something invasive, so as usual, speculation was the only thing to do.  Given Perry’s history of a burst abscess, it is possible another one may be developing.  Currently, it looks stable & the skin in that area looks healthy.  It does have an impact on Perry’s mobility & balance.  I continue to monitor it.

Blue and white pied budgie snoozing
Perry sitting on one foot

Perry had his beak & a few toenails trimmed.  His weight was 47 grams so he is maintaining weight, which is good as he still does not eat from any seed pots!  He has evidence of slight bruising on his legs which would be from his occasional falls.  The vet said he actually looked better than the last time, when she was particularly alarmed by his heart rate.

We continue to give him Epiphen to manage his seizures/mini-strokes.  I have adjusted the routine slightly in that I now give him a smaller amount twice a day rather than half a drop once a day.  He has it on a thin slice of celery in the morning between 10-11am & in the evening on a slice of apple at around 9pm.  Most of the time he co-operates!  Because the dosage is even smaller to spread it out during the 24 hours, I literally dip the syringe into the medicine & dab it onto a plate, where I can soak it into the celery or apple.  To make sure I know which end I have done, I cut a tiny notch in the slice & this also differentiates it from the other slice given to either Lennie or Moriarty.

So, we carry on.  Dealing with each day as it comes.

Blue and white pied budgie sitting on one foot
Perry soldiering on, on one foot

The cost of keeping a budgie (veterinary bills)

For some time now I have wanted to write a post detailing the possible costs with keeping a budgie.  Compared to bigger birds & other pets, budgies are relatively cheap to buy & I think it is easy for someone to think they will be cheap to keep.  Maybe some are…  But sometimes they are not!

I want to focus specifically on veterinary bills as these can be particularly expensive & are difficult to avoid if you have concerns about your budgie’s health.

Using my own experiences, I have done some number crunching.  The data set chosen is from May 2014 to April 2022.  In these 8 years, I spent approximately £5,395!  This averages out to £674 per year.

To get a better feel for what that means, I have broken the cost down by bird.  Costs include veterinary consultation fees, various tests, e.g., blood/crop/fecal, x-rays, plus any medication prescribed.  The table below shows the breakdown of data:

Table of veterinary costs per bird

This is the same data in chart form:

Chart showing veterinary costs per bird

There are additional costs not included here:

  • Supplements, e.g., Milk Thistle, Calcium
  • Food, e.g., seed, pellets, cuttlefish, iodine block, grit, vegetables, fruit
  • Transport to veterinary clinics
  • Cages
  • Cage furniture/accessories
  • Toys/Enrichment
  • Cremation

In conclusion, be financially prepared!

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Lennie’s Sticky-Out Feather

Lennie had a defective wing feather some weeks back.  It was dangling precariously from his side for about 3 weeks.

Budgie with feather sticking out
Lennie on the door platform

Initially, he spent some time fiddling with it, but then gave up & just accepted it, even when it was flicking around in positions it was not meant to be in.  After the blood loss drama when he lost his tail feather in September (click here for that post), I kept a close eye on the wing feather.  My thinking was that the longer it hung on, the less chance it would cause trouble when it finally dropped.  However, it withstood several vigorous flapping sessions, four occasions when I grabbed Lennie to transfer him to a different cage (click here for that post) & many times when Lennie trod on it.  When the vet came on the 11th of October to see Perry, the feather was still holding fast, so I asked her to take a look at it.


It was not clear what the problem was, but she gave it a short, sharp tug & it was free.  Fortunately, it was a clean separation without any complications.  I am not sure what happened, but I feel it would still be connected to this day had it not been forcibly pulled out!


Myriad of health problems

Yesterday we had another vet visit. This was for Perry as I have many concerns about his health.

The last post I made about Perry’s seizures was in August (click here for that post). Since then, Perry has had approximately 17 “incidents”.

Because of the increase in events, the vet had previously suggested using the drug Epiphen (typically used for epilepsy in dogs), an oral medication to be used daily. There are possible side-effects with its use, in particular damage to the liver, which gave me reservations. However, I eventually capitulated on the 9th of October, when I gave it to him via a sliver of apple. His last seizure, two days prior, was relatively mild, but he had become very wobbly, & his movements, particularly his head, were clearly not completely under his control. There were other issues, such as an overly long beak (again) & feet that seemed a darker pink than usual. He was also lethargic & stopped eating from the seed pots so I was holding food & water up to him all the time.

Handsome blue and white budgie Perry

Before the vet looked at Perry, I directed her to Lennie, where she quickly sorted out a troublesome feather – details in another post (click here).

On examining Perry, the vet first discovered he had lost weight & weighed 45g. This was not entirely unexpected as he felt lighter whenever he was on my finger. It is actually a healthy weight for a budgie but of concern in Perry’s case because of the loss of about 11g from the last time. More critical was his fast heart rate. The vet suspected heart failure which could be causing him to have mini-strokes, or vice-versa. She prescribed a medication to support the heart. The involuntary movements could be linked to a brain tumour.

So, my poor Perry has a myriad of health problems. We continue to support him by making sure he is comfortable & has what he needs as far as food/water, time to rest & sleep, & when alert, love & stimulation from his friends Lennie & Moriarty.

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Saturday Night and Sunday Morning

At 11pm on Saturday the 3rd of September, I peeked under their covers, as was routine, to check all was okay before dropping the big cover down further.  Perry & Lennie’s cage liner on the bottom had been changed about 2 hours earlier, so I was surprised it did not look clean.  When I looked closer, I realised it was blood.


I spotted Lennie’s tail feather laying across the seed pot.  He had lost his other one a couple of days earlier, which seemed odd to me as it had only just grown in.  He had lost both tail feathers just weeks ago (click here to read that post) so I was not expecting the new ones to drop so quickly.  I assumed this was a blood feather problem.  Had the bleeding stopped or was it ongoing?  I took the cage liner away to reveal the clean one underneath so it would be easier to check.

blood splattered bottom cage liner
Blood splattered cage liner
Lennie’s fallen tail feathers

Then I saw a big clot drop.  I knew I had to take immediate action.

Three pet carrier cages
Carrier cages

Under the flight cage, I have three small travel cages for emergency evacuation (one each in red, white & blue).  The one on top just happened to be the red one.  Cornflour was put into a wide container.  I caught Lennie & basically covered his lower section in the cornflour, not really knowing where the site of the bleed was, & then placed him in the travel cage with a cover over.

After a few minutes I checked to see if he was still bleeding.  It was difficult to judge how much blood had dropped because the base of the travel cage was red, but I could see blood mingled in with the white cornflour that had fallen off him.  I doused Lennie again in cornflour & put him back.  He was still bleeding so I carried on dunking him in the cornflour (literally, I dunked him in & ‘bathed’ him).  I discarded the red travel cage & alternated between the white & blue one.  That way, I could wipe around the one not in use, so each time he was placed into a clean one, making it easier to judge blood loss.

Continue reading “Saturday Night and Sunday Morning”

Pear-shaped Perry

On the 2nd August, we had another vet visit.

Perry last had his beak trimmed on the 2nd March & it had been gradually growing since then, though at a slower rate than before.  I could have waited a little longer before getting it trimmed but Perry had a bad night on the 28th July due to his ‘turns’, so I booked the vet visit earlier than planned.

She trimmed his beak & toenails.  His weight is stable at 56g.  His original, hard lump has grown a little, though fortunately it is still growing outwards.  He has more fat on his belly & the vet described him as being ‘more pear shaped’.

Without doing any tests, we can only speculate as to the cause of Perry’s seizures, but the vet does not think they are caused by the lumps.  Working on the idea that his liver may not be processing toxins efficiently, we continue to give them Milk Thistle in water.  Because the last episode of Perry’s seizures was more intense than previously, the vet also prescribed an additional supplement, Nutramarin+, a powder to be sprinkled on seed.

I have mixed the Nutramarin+ with some seed that I offer by hand.  So far, Perry has rejected that seed, picking one or two up, then dropping them.  I will persevere for a bit longer before consigning it to the ‘Medicine Refusal Box’!

Pear-shaped Perry


Working through the Avian Medical Encyclopedia…

Last week, on Wednesday the 2nd of March, we had another visit from the vet.

Perry & Moriarty

It appears that Perry is working his way through an avian medical encyclopedia & I told the veterinary nurse that I had lost track of what letter he is up to.  She suggested that he might be at ‘L’ for leg.

So yes, he has a problem with his leg.

About a week prior to the visit, I had noticed Perry holding his left foot up & barely using it.  I could not see any visible signs of injury.  He could rest it on the perch but only lightly.  As the days progressed it got a little better in that he could lift it to scratch the side of his head, which suggested there was no problem with the actual foot.  My concern was that perhaps one of his lumps was beginning to press on the leg & causing the problem.


The good news is that the problem is not lump-related.  He must have caught his leg/foot & sprained it as his knee joint is swollen.  Otherwise, all appears fine with his foot.  The vet gave him an anti-inflammatory injection to expedite recovery, but basically we just have to wait for it to heal, which could take 2-4 months.

To help with any pain or inflammation, I have been putting cayenne pepper & turmeric in his water, that he seems to like.  I noticed the cayenne pepper does not dissolve fully, so I wait for it to settle & then skim off the top, without bits, to put into his water.  Before giving it to him, I taste the water to check for ‘pepperiness’.  I also put a spoonful or two in my own drink!

Whilst the vet was here, she gave Perry a little makeover by trimming his beak (it was longer than it was the last time she trimmed it) & his toenails.  She also weighed him & he was 55g, which is a bit less than his last weigh-in but nothing to be concerned about.

In this video you can see, about halfway through, how long his beak was:


With a little extra help, Perry is still ‘out & about’.  I just hope he will put aside the avian medical encyclopedia for a bit!